Thursday, December 3, 2009

ClimateGate: Steyn Spouts...

Whenever Mark Steyn comes out with a new column, I wait to read it until I have at least 15 minutes or so to cherish it.  It doesn't matter what the topic is; the combination of Steyn's wit and his observational skills are like a drug for me.

So you can probably imagine how I've been anticipating his (inevitable) column on ClimateGate (which he calls “Warmergate”).  And the column doesn't disappoint.  A sample:
Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole “climate change” racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times—and a tragedy. It’s not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong. Science is never “settled,” and certainly not on the basis of predictive models. And any scientist who says it is is no longer a scientist. And the dismissal of “skeptics” throughout the Jones/Mann correspondence is most revealing: a real scientist is always a skeptic.

It may well be that Warmergate has come along too late. I won’t pretend to know the motivations of Jones, Mann and their colleagues, but judging from recent eco-advertising their work appears to have driven worshippers at the First Church of the Settled Scientist literally insane. A new commercial shows polar bears dropping from the skies onto city streets and crushing the cars below. To those of us who still quaintly recall 9/11, it evokes grotesquely those poor souls who chose to jump from the Twin Towers and die in one last gulp of air rather than perish in the fireball within. But who cares? Their plight is as nothing next to that of the polar bear. Why are they plummeting to their deaths from the heavens? As the ad explains, “An average European flight produces over 400 kg of greenhouse gases for every passenger. That’s the weight of an adult polar bear.”

Oooookay. It’s A Warmerful Life: every time they call your flight, a poley bear loses its wings.

You won't want to miss Steyn's first draft of a comprehensive statement on the state of AGW evidence.  Read the whole thing here.

Quote of the Day...

U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Allen West has been fined after admitting to allowing and participating in harsh interrogation techniques on an Iraqi policeman he believed had information about a planned ambush on West and his troops.  The Iraqi policeman “cracked” and provided information that allowed West and his troops to evade the ambush.  The would-be ambushers were captured or killed, and there were no more ambuses on West's troops while he was in Iraq.

At the hearing, West testifed that “I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers.”  After that, West was asked if he'd act differently now under similar circumstances, and he said:
“If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can.”
Now that's the kind of leader I'd want to have, if I were in a combat group.  Come to think of it, that's the kind of leader I'd like to have as an American.

Awesome, Lt. Col. West, just absolutely awesome...

ClimateGate: Daily Dump...

Thanks, Jon.  Now some more:
To a long-time AGW skeptic like me, seeing all this stuff happening is more than slightly mind-boggling.  It's also a huge relief, because it sure looks like the laundry is going to get washed and dried in the sunlight here...

Going Rogue...

Last night I finished reading Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.  A few reactions:
  • It's certainly no literary masterpiece, and I suspect she'd be quick to agree with that.  I had no problem staying awake while reading it, but I wasn't riveted by either the prose or the content.

  • She's very quick to use her religious beliefs instead of thinking.  By this I mean that you'll find her quite casually attributing an event to God's will (and not thinking it out any further), or justifying a position with by invoking God's desire instead of a thought-out ideology.  Palin invokes Reagan frequently in the book, but Reagan was in fact a very different kind of political animal – he was religious, of course, but his religion was the foundation for his ideology, not the ideology itself.  Palin comes across as having very little ideology beyond her religion and a vague, general sort of Alaskan independence, libertarianism, and scrappiness.  I like the latter elements; the first one scares me.

  • The last ten pages or so were the most interesting part of the entire book.  In this section, she comes closest to offering a vision of what we might expect from her in the future.  I read it closely, as I strongly suspect that Palin will be a factor in our nation's future politics.  I was disappointed, not so much by what's there, but by what's not there.  There is no clear vision, no clear agenda, no clear ideology.  I still know only vaguely what Sarah Palin believes in (other than God) – and I suspect the same thing is true of her.  I don't see a Ronald Reagan or Maggie Thatcher here, but rather a cartoonish copy, without foundation, wrapped in an attractive package.  I wish I could say otherwise.

  • I'm less likely to vote for her now (for any office) than I was before reading the book.  I can still imagine circumstances where I might vote for her as the lesser of two evils.  For example, if one could imagine (say) a 2012 ticket of Obama/Pelosi vs. Palin/Romney, I might well hold my nose and vote the Republican ticket – not so much because I was attracted to it, but because the alternative was so much worse.  But I would certainly not be an enthusiastic supporter of hers.

  • It seems to me unlikely that Palin would actually be able to clinch the Republican ticket in 2012.  Not impossible, but unlikely.  More likely is that she could make a robust run as an independent, like a modern Ross Perot.  I can easily imagine her forming a strong third party with the “tea party” folks as her base.  I can imagine any number of partners for her (Glenn Beck came immediately to mind, though the thought sends shivers of fear through me).  Would such an independent ticket have a chance?  The probabilities are against it; a more likely outcome is a badly split vote on the right, and a unified vote from the liberal opposition – not a pleasant outcome for me.